Friday, August 3, 2012

Interview with Abgott (UK)

Abgott started their course in Italy, and are now based in London, UK. Playing a very technical and progressive Black Metal, they have released their latest album in 2009, Godfather in Black. They will be playing their exclusive gig for the year 2012, by Halloween, on the 27th of October in London. So if you are a fan, don't miss it. Lachryma Christi had the opportunity to interview Agamoth about these and other subjects.

Not wanting to lack on creativity, where did the name Abgott come from?

Abgott comes from the German term for: Idol, but also it has several different meanings:
Serpent or variation in the family of Vipers, Absence of God, Gods that has been dethroned , i.e. Wotan/Odin was considered an Abgott when the Christianity was spread across the German borders. Ab- stands for negation / Gott stands for God... so it has a large spectrum of meanings.

How did the band start?

1997, it started in an abandoned Slaughter house in South Italy. Since early nineties, I was in contact with several ppl of the extreme scene, back then, given I had my little distro, so I used to exchange cassettes, demos and the early cds... till I started receiving, what later was going to be defined as Black Metal and my appreciation of Metal got new dimensions. Abgott started with no much pretensions nor expectation, but for rebellion. Of course as anything, in a remote country, the project wasn’t working there so, after recording a demo few splits and a debut album, I moved to London, in 2001, and here is where I found far more fortune, so I released 3 albums “Fizala”, “Artefact of Madness” and “Godfather in Black”, alongside with several compilations and lots of tours.

What does fascinate you the most about black metal? What do you dislike the most about it?

I guess I can answer both the questions at once, by saying: I used to love its extremism and mostly the fact that anyone could play it the way they felt it and wanted, without being judged or condemned if you would not sound like "this" or "that" band... obviously, we all know that it did not stay that way for too long, till it turned into something of public domain... hence, everyone started to copy "this" or "that" band, losing entirely the meaning that was hidden behind it, in the first place. 

Since you have lived and experienced the black metal scene in Italy, how do you describe it?

It used to be truly bad and it went from bad to worst, bands are clones of clones of the early 90's Scandinavian bands. Totally lack of personality and with an ego bigger then the planet itself. Hence, they price themselves to sound like "true" BM bands, because they are "like this or that band"...

(Photo by Ester Segarra)

There have been quite a few changes in Abgott line up through the time. Can you tell us a bit of the story?

Simple, I work with musicians that are valid, until they are committed to work with the project and mostly I work with ppl that do not waste my time... once a musician starts to juggle around and waste time, I fire the person and get in someone more committed, with a fresh sound and with a much better attitude, so who is left behind, means he is not worthy.
Obviously there are exceptions, Robin Graves worked on the project for 2 years, but then he had family commitments that took all his time available for music I was obviously sad to see him going, as he is insanely good, but hey, family is family. Same with bassist Daemoon, he was a soldier, back in Italy. He kept leaving the country to come and play with Abgott, a truly committed warrior and an outstanding musician as well, but eventually they found out what was going on and definitely the Army (being catholic based) did not like to see him to play in, what looked like a Satanic band, so he got Court Martial with arrests and then fired... Italy sucks! That was the end of Daemoon. For the rest, they either were sessions or ppl that lost their will to carry on.

How did "Fizala" come out so experimental and unconventional? What were your main influences by then?

I take this occasion to finally EXPLAIN to the entire world that:
this album is NOT based on H.P.Lovecraft at all... In fact up to that point I have never even read a story written from Lovecraft... 
The Album is based on Alaister Crowley, TOTALLY, ENTIRELY, ECUMENICALLY!!!!
Back then I was obsessed with Crowley (I guess I still am) reading about his cult and his studies of the Necronomicon,I went to search for this Tome and I found it book in a Occult specialised Roman bookshop called Eterea. The book it is said to be the originally translated version of the original version "stashed" in the Vatican City Library... written in Constantinopolis by Pissarius... I did read, loved it and used part of the text in the record...
Hence the album was so "experimental" to reflect the need of a musical translation of ancient rituals into music!
another curiosity about this record is that despite the crazy key and time signatures, constant changes of tempos and atmospheres, subliminal messages spread around the album, the hidden tracks, the Italian, Sumerian and English languages mixed together and all the backwards writing (which I was inspired to use by Impaled Nazarene), my aim was to give ppl a cold, unsettling and unnerving feeling while listening to it, well... mission accomplished, most of the feedbacks were:"dude your album gave me nightmares, last night..."
Last but not least:
The reviews for this album back then were horrible (not that I have ever cared about it as i barely look at my albums reviews)... but truly anything horrible to say about an album, well was said about this one... hahaha
Guess what:
just five years down the line a revamp of the album has seen it turning into a "milestone" of extreme metal and a uber progressive record that pushed the boundaries beyond extreme...
Bringing the record to be sought as a classic...
Pay back time I guess.
Musically, I wasn't truly inspired by anything in particular, all I remember listening at that point was Grand Declaration Of War - Mayhem, but nothing more, so maybe I got influenced here and there by that album, but not a major statement to be sure it was an influence. I have always been on single minded track an I have never relied onto any other band or other ppl sound to give life to mine. I like unicity and surely Abgott is unique. 

What are the bands that have influenced you the most?

Not a specific bands to be honest. I liked albums, tho if I have to specifically point out at BM albums:
Darkthrone - Transylvanin Hunger
Mayhem - Live in Leipzig 
Satyricon - Nemesis Divina
Emperor - Nightside Eclipse
Immortal - Blizzard Beast
Burzum - Burzum
I have never being interested in anything but albums, I do not care about bands or who is the band member... whatever.
Beside the Scandinavian Scene, I liked and still like the Metal Scene in general, so not a specific band can be called upon being the main influence.

What was your most remarkable show so far? Why?

All of them! Because every show is important, every show has got an audience and the audience matters and needs to be respected! 

What is the concept behing the "Godfather in Black?" How did the public react to the album?

Godfather in Black is autobiographical in many aspects. It has element of my past, it has element of my family businesses, it has close views on religions, and also, yes, it has element of observations on the subject of Mafia as on the subject of how anything can be a 'Godfather in Black': a priest, the prime minister, the local boss, your employer, your mother or father, yourself, your friend/enemy. What is it a Mafia? an illegal organization only? Who's the Godfather? Al Pacino or Marlone Brando? No! You have got the Godfather in yourself and around yourself!
Another aspect that has led me to discuss it as an open concept in my album and is due to the fact that I am tired of hearing Norwegians speaking of Black Metal Mafia! Mafia is not a Scandinavian thing! They use this term without realising what it does really mean, besides, Mafia hates Metal as it is a matter of disgrace and dishonour of impurity and is made of horrendous noises! If you are a Mafia Man Of Honour you repudiate Metal! As For example the Religious world considers Metal a disgrace and a loss of values.
The reaction has been great as usual. The album is nearly sold out and Abgott did not even promote the album as much as it should have done. We did not tour it as usual, we only did several festivals around UK. The results have been outstanding and Abgott truly does appreciate all the support and care it has received from the audience, promoters and media.

Are you happy with how british black metal community received Abgott?

Yes. British will always be British. With some of them all you get is "one day they like you the day after they don't as they get into something else", it is perfectly normal. Of course, there will always be revelry, but that is human... as i said billion time, please bring on your revelry, it is a pleasure to compete.

When can we expect a new release of Abgott? What's in store?

Before the end of this year we are due to release a new album and so it shall be. Expect a new direction (again) new line up, new approach, extreme and mental as usual.

Your Halloween show on the 27th October 2012 in Nambucca - London is exclusive for this year. Why? When can we expect to see Abgott live after that?

Yes, it is exclusive, because that will be the only chance for anyone that truly wants to see the band live. I do not like to saturate the scene, as way too many bands do and then end up with disinterest from the crowed. Abgott will play live more, indeed, but not in London. We have requests abroad and they are well promoted, well organized and far more interesting, then having to play, several time, the same few remaining decent venues in a city that has taken away all the good venues. Obviously, we will do a lot in UK, but not in London.

What do you think new bands should keep in mind along their journey? What is your advice?

Stop pretending to be "big" and "rockstar" cause you are definitely not, specially from a day to another. It takes hard work and a lot of commitment to reach certain stages of abilities and being recognised as such. Keep away from groupies, keep away from drugs and stop pretending making money with your music. Be real and honest with yourself as much as with the crowed and eventually you will achieve your dream. 
Dream Big, but keep your feet on the ground and work your ass off to achieve it! Be yourself and believe in yourself, before others start to believe in you.

Latest release:

Godfather in Black (2009)

Godfather in Black, the latest album released by Abgott, came out in 2009 by Helvete and Hate. 
Abgott always revealed us a Black Metal with a very throaty voice and a strong touch of progressiveness and technicality, which always distinguished them from any traditional black metal band. These tendencies are much more intense in Godfather in Black, where from times to times melody seems to fade into speedy drums and more skillful guitar riffs.
Release is composed by 15 tracks. All the album follows the same line, although interrupted by instrumental interludes. Intro is particularly obscure played in an awesome pipe organ sound. You can expect an  improvement in production, as well as a lovely dark  vampyric artwork. 

You can find more information and music of Abgott on: (under re construction)

Special thanks to Agamoth and to Dayal Patterson 

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